The Tampa Bay Rays have been one of the better teams in baseball, showing last year’s surge was not a one-hit wonder. Now that they’ve established themselves, a few trades could make them true contenders.
The Tampa Bay Rays go into this week two and a half games behind the New York Yankees for tops in the American League East, and five games up on the second place Wild Card team the Texas Rangers. It may be the beginning of June, but it’s starting to look like a two-team race for the tops of that division, with the loser relegated to the one-game Wild Card playoff.
The Rays once again are playing with one of the smallest payrolls in the major leagues, so expecting them to cash out on a huge salary is unlikely. The Rays like to take chances on once great prospects, and they try to get the best out of them.
The only player on the entire roster that makes more than $10 million, and that’s Charlie Morton. It’s just how the Rays have done business since they joined the league. They will never have a nine-figure payroll. They will focus more on young talent and a great coach.
But still, these opportunities to contend don’t come all the time, especially for the Rays.
When they have the chance to make a splash in the American League, they must take it. Last season, they contended despite selling high on Chris Archer. Now, the two players they got in return from the Pittsburgh Pirates are helping lead their run this season. Tyler Glasnow had six wins in eight starts before he went down with an arm injury. Meanwhile, Austin Meadows is the team’s best hitter.
This season, the Rays should make trades to get themselves MLB players. They have an extremely good, young core. However, they could use some veterans to help this roster. That doesn’t mean they can’t make a move for young players, but we expect them to build a locker room presence for the stretch run, and veterans might do better to fit in.
Either way, the Rays are going to add some talent between now and the end of July, especially if they remains near the top of the American League.